Community interest company, Nickel Support, receives £35K in funding from Big Issue Invest

Nickel Support CIC, which offers employment support opportunities for people with learning disabilities, has received £35K in investment from Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of The Big Issue.

Nickel Support is a community interest company supporting neurodivergent adults and adults with learning disabilities. The organisation has a simple vision, to ensure every trainee they support leads a more fulfilled and purposeful life. Employment is a key focus, but the organisation supports trainees in all aspects of their lives.

Over the years, the organisation has grown substantially. As of today, it employs over 30 people and works with over 100 trainees per week. The current hub is at the top of its capacity and the demand for Nickel services has not stopped growing, with a current waiting list of over 30 people.

This has led the organisation to look for a second hub in Cheam, which has recently been secured. The investment from Big Issue Invest will help Nickel to refurbish and equip this new premise.

The aim for the Cheam Hub is to replicate what the organisation have built at the Carshalton branch. They are looking to sensitively refurbish the building, bringing and enhancing the existing features to have the same feel as the current studio and hub – which is set over four floors and is fully wheelchair accessible.

There is a fitted kitchen on the top floor that allows trainees to spend more time developing food products that are tested and commercialised, whilst on the first floor the upcyclers enjoy the light and spacious workshop working on products that will be sold on “Interestingly Different”. The different business streams have flourished, with wonderful new products being developed on the ground floor.

Nickel Support was set up by Elena Nickola and Nick Walsh after they’ve observed a dire need for improvement in local learning disability sector. They felt that people with learning disabilities needed more support, and services available were not catching up to needs of their beneficiaries, both in quality and quantity.

Nick and Elena decided to take action. They formulated a business plan, quit their jobs and started a brand new organisation. After working for over 20 years combined in the learning disability sector they felt that they could use their experience and knowledge to create a unique service that offers support in a much more dynamic and powerful way. Their vision is to change the way learning disability services are run forever, offering respect and the chance for people with learning disabilities to shine.

Anabel Feria Dominguez, Investment Manager at Big Issue Invest, said: “It is an absolute pleasure to be able to support an incredible organisation such as Nickel Support. I am excited to watch them grow from strength to strength!”

Nick Walsh, founder and director of Nickel Support CIC, said: “”I am extremely proud of what Nickel Support has become. We offer an individualised service and this in turn has meant we have seen massive skills and confidence developments of the trainees over the past few years.

“This investment from Big Issue Invest will helps us grow and offer support to many more people with learning disabilities.”

To find out more about Big Issue Invest, or how your organisation could receive similar support to Nickel Support CIC, please visit:

To find out more about Nickel CIC, visit their website here.

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